Every person in the world engages in relationships as a necessary part of life, though the health of those relationships varies. As Christ followers, we are to be striving more than any other people group to be the absolute best at creating and maintaining relationships.
Because God’s name is attached to our reputation, and His method of reaching the world and maturing His bride is through relationships.
Right now I am almost embarrassed to write this post. Many relationships in my life are complicated. Conflict has entered. Differing views are causing stress. Some people trust my character; others don’t. Some people want to hang out with me, and others don’t want to hear from me ever again.
Yet here I stand
I am all the more committed to relationships today than I have ever been! For one, I understand that just because relationships are messy does not necessarily mean anything is going wrong. Relationships are messy by definition as two imperfect “lifetimes” try to integrate and communicate. Second, not everyone is interested in making relationships work. Period. Third, the enemy is taking advantage of any opportunity to steal, kill and destroy any room for God to use a relationship for good. Nothing would make Satan happier than to have people fighting, choosing distraction over relationship, and being in relationships that take us out of business for the Kingdom.
Doing our part
We can’t control another human being, so unity and peace with people are not always possible, but God tells each of us, “So far as it depends on you, live at peace with all men.” (Romans 12:18) So far as it depends on you; I love that phrase. God isn’t holding you or me accountable for the health of every relationship, only our part in each relationship.
We have great RESPONSIBILITY
God’s chosen method for reaching the world and maturing His bride is relationships. In order to share Jesus with people, we need to be in relationships. In order to participate with all Christ followers around the globe and work in unity as a gorgeous, sparkling dressed-in-white Bride, we need to be in relationship with each other. In order to counsel, encourage, support, aid or enjoy the company of someone, we need to be in relationships.
And not just relationships, intimate relationships
God’s calling on our lives is that we be in trusting relationships with people of all kinds to point people to Jesus and share the Good News in a way that can be received because our love is genuine. We need to be in intimate relationships with people so when any of us are losing our way and sinning – knowingly or unknowingly – we have people in our lives to point it out. We need to be setting people free to exercise their talents and gifts fully for the good of the church universal. When life is hard and we start to lose hope (or sleep), we need people to remind us of truth and cheer us on in ways we can see and hear.
We have great ABILITY
When we roll out of bed the morning after becoming a Christian, most of us look just the same as the day before, but everything has changed! We are forgiven. We have been adopted into the family of God and our heavenly Father now takes responsibility for us like earthly fathers bear responsibility for their children’s growth and development.
Perhaps the greatest miracle “the morning after” is the gift of the Holy Spirit that now resides in us. I know things look less than perfect in my relationships, but I also know the power I have invited into each of them, the power of God the Holy Spirit. We have the power of God that gives us the ability to love people with God’s love, exhibit the fruit of the Spirit and respond in love even to our enemies.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)
People who don’t know Christ yet do not have access to such power.
No wonder the enemy of this world has us fighting and divided. He has us distracted so we can’t focus on people. He has us comfortable in our houses — in our own little space where so many of us can take care of ourselves through our phones that enable grocery and Amazon deliveries with swiftness and allow us to load up a movie of our choice without having to share the decision or schedule around anyone else. The enemy is doing all he can to get us to live independently of others.
How are we measuring up?
This question needs to be asked of us as a whole around the globe, as a church family, as a neighbor in each subdivision, as a co-worker in a department, and individually as we assess both our initiation of relationships and our competence within each. Because, my brothers and sisters in Christ, relationships are our core responsibility and we are the only people on earth with supernatural ability to love people with God’s love.
Gather a list of people in your life and have a prayer time. “God, I invite your Holy Spirit power in to my relationship with (then name them all…every single person that comes to mind).” Make this a habit, not just a one-time thing. Be consistent, and then show up in each relationship without quitting. Stay long. Practice forgiveness. Practice love. Make room for God to show up, then watch Him do so.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (Galatians 6:9)
Picture Explanation: My picture friend went hiking in the Smokey Mountains, and I appreciate her sharing her journeys with me!
If you are interested in being contacted about participating in a One Gritty Blink Bible study in 2023, click on the Oaks Ministries link below and contact me by email. Let’s focus on things that count for eternity.
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Hi, Friend! Great post. How stubborn and unwise we can be in relationships! These days, I pray much for wisdom. Thanks for the suggestion to invite the Holy Spirit in! Thanks for the reminder also that we are only responsible for our part!
Thank you for your response.I like your practice of praying for wisdom and can’t help but think it automatically invites the Holy Spirit in. Only He can give us the words we need even as we speak. I have watched you work very hard at relationships. Well done.
This is such a good one. I can do better in this area. Thank you for being a friend I can count on to tell me the truth in love, encourage me, and inspire me to be more like Jesus. I love you, Laurie!!
We can all do better. Relationships aren’t going anywhere, and neither is God’s calling and the enemies activities. But I have seen you work very hard at relationships, giving it your all. You inspire me!